12 July, 2012

Mindfulness

There is research that shows that people with addiction problems and OCD often focus more on a "story structure" more than an "experiental structure" in their brains. A story structure is more or less a way of ordering, making sense of the world with facts and stories, whereas an experiental structure is one of being in the world, just letting the experiences wash through and be experienced without being labeled. Both are probably necessary, but something goes haywire for one reason or another with various mental woes. The exciting news is that no matter what your upbringing, you can change this. I'm probably one of the more skeptical to believe that this is true, but if it is true, it is very good and very exciting news. The most exciting part of this news, to me, is that it shows science and cold hard facts and meditative, religious practices are meeting and finding common ground. Studying mindfulness is not exactly new, but the focus toward more holistic, experiental and even spiritual practices and therapies is a direction psychiatry has been headed for a while and I think it's promising. And I think it might open the way for other ways of looking at the brain such as ecopsychiatry(looking at a person and relationship to and place in environment), transpersonal psychiatry(looking at the aspects "beyond personal"), more thoughtfully looking at the cause of mental illness (maybe they do have a role in our society and are not broken), more holistically looking at nutrition and wellness as well as looking to the past including psychedelics to see what we can learn. It's beautiful today and I feel hopeful that we will figure this out, that there will be more thoughtful, thorough approaches. I have hope, although to tell the truth, I know we have a very long way to come, because I believe successfully treating mental illness means a complete overhaul of our current mindset and society.

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